Beef encounter as Victorian works test the ‘Cow’ Cooper market

It’s fair to say the work of Victorian animal painter Sidney Cooper (1803-1902) is not flavour of the month.

The artist’s bucolic canvases, populated with his famous grazing cows and sheep, embody high Victorian sentimentalism that has declined in popularity in recent decades. Such subjects are a world away from the edgy art that succeeded it in the 20th century and are now more dominant on the domestic secondary market. Yet, Cooper’s recognition as one of the great animal painters of Victorian England (so skilled that fake copies of Cooper’s cows were routinely made, prompting the artist to invite owners ...